Friday, January 30, 2015

hello kitty tortilla chips

I must confess that at first, the only reason I made these was to use up a giant bag of tortillas that I had in the fridge. It was Superbowl weekend (Superbowl 2014, that is. Yes, that's how long it's taken me to post this), and so I thought I would make my tortillas into yummy cinnamon-sugar crisps for us to snack on. So I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and kind of adapted it. They came out really good! And they were super easy to make!

I started by brushing olive oil (instead of butter) on both sides of my tortillas, and placing them all in a single stack. Then I cut them into wedges, arranged them on my baking sheet, and sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar.

Then I baked them at 375F for about 10 minutes, and they came out crispy and delicious. So simple!

I still had more tortillas to use up, so I thought I would make a batch of just plain salted baked tortilla chips. Even more simple! And still delicious!

Now if you've been following my blog, you already know that I often suddenly decide to make things Hello Kitty, such as these Hello Kitty macarons so many years ago, or these Hello Kitty meringue cookies, Hello Kitty pocket pies, and even these Hello Kitty tartlets! (I could name so many more, but the list would go on and on ...)

So ... I got the idea to use a cookie cutter to cut out Hello Kitty shaped tortilla pieces, instead of cutting them into wedges!!!

I'll admit that after baking them, the details of Hello Kitty's face because a little bit distorted from all the bubbling in the tortillas.

But in my opinion, they still came out adorable!

Happy Superbowl weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

morning buns

I recently became obsessed with making things with homemade laminated dough - croissants, pain au chocolate, and kouign amann to name a few. They all basically start with the same dough - a yeasted dough that is wrapped around pounded or flattened butter, and rolled and turned several times to make layers in the dough. Then you can turn the dough into various things! Plain with egg wash for croissants, filled with dark chocolate for decadent pain au chocolate, and turned with lots of sugar for a caramelized sugar kouign amann. Another type of pastry you can make is morning buns!

To make the morning buns, you roll out your laminated dough into a large rectangle, and cover it with a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon (and some recipes call for grated orange zest, but I skipped that ingredient). For reference, I used this recipe by Martha Stewart for the dough, and this recipe at Cannella Vita for the filling and baking directions.

After sprinkling an even layer of filling, carefully roll the dough into a long log.

And then carefully cut 2-inch segments with a sharp knife. (You should end up with 12 segments).

Then place the segments in a buttered cupcake or muffin pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise.

I was supposed to let them rise for an hour, then cover with plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge overnight before baking them, but I was impatient and baked them after the first hour! As a result, my morning buns were not as puffy and they should have been.

But I didn't mind because I got to eat them sooner ;) and they still tasted great! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

pain au chocolate

During my recent obsession with making pastries with laminated dough (such as kouign amann and croissants), I also experimented with making pain au chocolate - basically a croissant filled with dark chocolate.

For the recipe, I used this one by Martha Stewart. The process was the same as making the croissant dough, but instead of cutting the dough into triangle and rolling them into crescent shapes, I cut the dough into long rectangular strips, added a couple tablespoons of chopped dark chocolate at one end, and then rolled them up into little logs.

See the chocolate peeking out?

Then after egg wash and baking, out emerged delicious buttery pastries filled with melted chocolate! While I still need to work on my croissant dough, as the pastries are still not as puffy and flakey as I'd like, I think pain au chocolate turned out much better than the plain croissants.

Next up with laminated dough, morning buns!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

homemade croissants

After my recent try with making kouign amann, I decided that I wanted to try making homemade croissants as well. So I looked to this Martha Stewart recipe to give it a try!

The method was similar to making kouign amann - make a yeasted dough, let it rise, wrap the dough around some butter and alternate folding and rolling the dough with letting it chill and rest in the fridge.

The difference was that no sugar was rolled into the dough. 

And with croissants, long triangle shapes are cut out and then rolled into crescent shapes.

Oh, and croissants have egg wash before baking, whereas kouign amann do not.

Sadly, my croissants were not as puffy and flaky as I was hoping they would be. I guess this means I'll be experimenting with making more croissants soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

christmas layer jello

We are well into January already, and I still haven't shown you all the desserts I made for Christmas! This is the last one, I promise!

So for Christmas Eve dinner this year, the only dessert that my mom requested I make was layered jello! Out of all the desserts that I make, she chose the simplest one! But whether it's Valentine's Day jello, St. Patrick's Day jello, or Easter jello, layered jello is always the perfect dessert. (You can even make Hello Kitty layer jello!). It's not too sweet, perfect as a light dessert, and loved by both kids and adults.

The fun thing about layer jello is that you can choose any color combination, and any amount of layers that you like. I typically make it seven layers (4 colored layers and 3 white layers), so this time I chose alternating layers of two green, two red, and three white. You could even use cookie cutters to cut them out for a fun presentation!

This jello is definitely addicting because it's easy to eat, it's light, and it's delicious. And it's super pretty as well! You can find the recipe in my new book, just look for the recipe on Hello Kitty rainbow finger jello!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

christmas wreath shingled apple pie

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is a beautiful Christmas wreath. Just the sight of wreaths hanging on all the doors in the neighborhood gives such a warm and welcoming feeling. In the past I've made Christmas wreath cupcakes, Christmas wreath mousse cake, and Christmas wreath cookies, so why not make a Christmas wreath apple pie?

Last year I made this Christmas tree apple pie, so this time I did the same thing except with little circle pie crust cutouts instead of Christmas tree shapes. It starts with a homemade all-butter pie crust, filled with sliced apples that are tossed with sugar, flour, cinnamon, ground cloves, and a pinch of salt. (You can actually find the entire pie recipe in my new book, The Hello Kitty Baking book - just look for the page on making Hello Kitty Apple Pie!)

With half of my pie crust dough, I rolled it out and fitted it into the bottom of my pie pan. Then I filled it with my spiced apple filling, before rolling out the second half of my pie crust and cutting out little scalloped circle shapes with a small cookie cutter. Then I neatly arranged a row of circle cutouts along the perimeter of my pie...

... followed by a second row of cutouts...

... and finally a third row to complete my wreath. Be sure to leave a little hole in the middle of the wreath to let the steam escape from the pie!

I baked the pie at 425F for 15 minutes, then lowered the heat to 350F for another 45-50 minutes (and by then the entire house smelled like delicious apple pie!)

The pie turned out perfect - the crust was tender yet flakey and crispy, and the apples were perfectly cooked with just the right amount of sugar and spice!

While the pie didn't resemble a Christmas wreath as much as I had hoped it would, I thought it was still super cute, and could actually be made for any occasion. I'll definitely be making this again, maybe next time I'll just called it "scalloped apple pie"! :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

3D cookie christmas tree

Wow! Christmas and New Years flew by in the blink of an eye! Hopefully it's not too late to share this cute little tree that I made for our celebration Christmas Eve!

A long time ago I had seen this Christmas tree cutter set in a magazine somewhere, and I thought it was the cutest thing! So when Christmas rolled around this year, I thought I would make my own cookie tree, using this star cutter set that I already owned.

Even though there were only 4 different sized star cutters in this set, I figured I could achieve the same effect by cutting out several of each size.

Note that I cut out less of the bigger stars, and more of the medium and smaller stars.

Once my cookies were baked and cooled, I whipped up a half batch of buttercream frosting (recipe in my new book!), and tinted it leaf green. Then I placed a small blob on the bottom of my largest cookie, to attach it to a 6-inch cake board.

Next I fitted a pastry bag with a Wilton #352 leaf tip, filled it with my green icing, and piped little leaves around the perimeter of the star before filling it in completely with leaves. (See my Christmas wreath cookies for the same technique!)

Then I placed my next cookie on top, and again piped leaves around the perimeter of the star, after which I filled in the cookie with leaves. Around this time I also started to sprinkle on little white nonpareils after finishing with each cookie, to give the effect of snow on the leaves.

I continued with all of the star cookies, from the largest cookies on the bottom, to the smallest cookies on the top.

I finished it off with a small yellow star sprinkle on the top of the tree (taken from this set of star sprinkles), and more white nonpareils all over.

And there you have it, a cute little 3D Christmas tree made out of cookies! It made for the perfect little centerpiece and dessert all in one!